For the people of Chhoekhor-Tang constituency in Bumthang, the choice is between an uncle and a nephew.

The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) candidate, Dawa will face his uncle the president of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), Pema Gyamtsho.

The constituency’s public debate yesterday was a much-awaited one for the people here. The hall in Wangduechholing LSS was packed with spectators. Those who could not make it were glued to their televisions.

As the DPT president entered the hall, the DNT candidate bowed and shook hands and after the debate ended, the DPT president clasped his arms over Dawa’s shoulder to exit the stage. 

It was a clean but engaging debate and both the speakers were versatile and spontaneous. 

Most expected a heated debate but both candidates maintained their serenity, appreciating and agreeing to each other’s point.

For instance, Pema Gyamtsho spoke about the nuisance created by social media that could potentially disturb peace and tranquility of the country. “Parties are not important, the country and institution of monarchy is,” he said adding that the party would back out if such exasperation shakes the country’s tranquility. 

During Dawa’s turn to question the DPT candidate, he also said that he would call it quit if politics annihilate the prosperity and unity among its people in the country.  

Although the two are related, it is with the same intention that got them into politics.

“If we directly consider family relation, it’s quite difficult,” Dawa said. More than the relation, he said it is a matter of choice to the people who will serve them. 

He added that it is not fair to the constituents if he takes a backseat considering the relation, especially people who admire DNT’s ideology and manifesto.

 “It’s only fair to contest as it ought to be contested with due regard to electoral laws,” he said.  “I take him (Pema Gamtsho) as any candidate from the opponent Party.”   

When asked about Dawa’s chances against the DPT president, he said there could be drastic improvement compared with the result of the primaries.

Political division, he said is inevitable and differences do come out in the families and community.

Pema Gyamtsho said everyone should be given an opportunity to contest elections. “It is not fair to the people and candidate if we block their opportunity in the name of relationship,” he said.

Tshering Dorji | Bumthang